apple streaming service

The Apple streaming service continues to amass an impressive line-up of talent with eye-catching shows. But don’t expect any of those shows to be too risqué. A new report reveals that Apple is working hard to make their streaming service ultra family friendly and, well, kind of bland. Apple has gone so far as to pull the plug on one of their potential shows because it had too much sex and violence, while also instructing other shows to remove any trace of potentially offensive subject matter.

Apple wants in on this streaming action, but don’t expect any adult-driven entertainment. A new report in the Wall Street Journal details the lengths Tim Cook and company are going to in order to keep their service very G-rated. Apple’s first scripted drama was supposed to be Vital Signs, a series inspired by the life of Dr. Dre. But after taking one look at the pilot episode, Tim Cook blanched. Per WSJ:

The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.

It’s too violent, Mr. Cook told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine, said people familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans. Apple can’t show this.

Across Hollywood and inside Apple, the show has become emblematic of the challenges faced by the technology giant as it pushes into entertainment. Apple earmarked $1 billion for Hollywood programming last year. But in the tone CEO Mr. Cook has set for it, whatever Apple produces mustn’t taint a pristine brand image that has helped the company collect 80% of the profits in the global smartphone market.

Sex and violence aren’t the only things Apple is shunning. The service snapped up the rights to a M. Night Shyamalan thriller series, but made a specific request: the series couldn’t feature any shots of crucifixes, nor could it touch on “religious subjects or politics.”

In addition to all this, a comedy series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon is now delayed because Apple “wanted a more upbeat show and took exception to some of the humor proposed.”

Apple has also brought in a new showrunner for their Amazing Stories reboot, as they found the original showrunner’s ideas “too dark.”

As the WSJ sums it up, “Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.”

Apple is playing it safe because unlike Netflix or Hulu, they’re a consumer product company – as they see it, there’s more at risk if their content angers someone. “With Apple, you can say, ‘I’m going to punish them by not buying their phone or computer,'” says Preston Beckman, a former NBC and Fox programming executive.

guess that makes sense, but it also kills almost any enthusiasm I have for Apple’s shows. I don’t need my entertainment to be loaded with sex and violence. But knowing Apple is taking these steps to make their output bland and inoffensive is a bit dispiriting. Maybe I’ll just stick with Netflix.

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